Cran to honour late father Jim
Cran Dalgety would love to honour his late father Jim by winning the $100,000 Dawson Harford Taylor Mile at Alexandra Park tonight with Krug.
The Canterbury trainer thinks he has the draw and horse to pull off what would be one of the most emotional wins of his career in the star-studded sprint.
Dalgety lost his father and the industry a legend when Jim passed away aged 88 on Wednesday after a life in which he bred, owned and trained many top horses as well as standing two NZ champion stallions at stud.
Among the plethora of wins Jim achieved as an owner in his storied career was the 1998 Taylor Mile with Scuse Me in a 1:53.5 national record, an almost unthinkable time in that era.
“Dad won this race with her way back then and I have won it since with Christen Me (2013) but I’d love to win it this week after what has been a tough time for the family,” says Dalgety, who trains Krug with his wife Chrissie.
Krug was a huge fifth in The Race at Cambridge last week and meets many of the same stars tonight but this time looks a realistic chance of leading from barrier 3, rather than being three wide the last lap as he was last week.
“He had a hard run last week but I thought he was super and he came through it really well,” confirms Dalgety.
“In fact we are surprised just how well he came through it. He was fine the day after and even better the day after that.
“So he is going in well and if he can lead he will be hard to beat.”
That could also be said for the likes of Spankem and South Coast Arden, both of who finished ahead of Krug last Thursday, but are drawn outside him tonight.
All three are powerful front runners so the early burn will be crucial with one of the fastest front lines seen in a Taylor Mile for years, with almost every runner having genuine gate speed.
That presents a real issue for favourite and The Race winner Self Assured as while he is the best horse in the race he has the same barrier 8 as last week but almost 600m less in which to overcome it.
“Both he and Spankem came through The Race really,” says trainer Mark Purdon, who has four in the Mile.
“I think like last week Self Assured will have to go back early because he would have no chance of crossing them from out there and then Tony (Herlihy, new driver) will have to make his decision.
“Last week there was always a good chance I could move and get to parked but this week they may be going too fast for that.”
Self Assured came from last to win a high-class sprint at Alexandra Park two starts ago but tonight’s race is a level up on that and he might need to do something extraordinary to win.
“A lot of very good horses have been beaten in this race and he could be another one,” offers Purdon.
“I’d go as far as to say if Spankem can get to the lead, and I don’t know whether he can, then he would be the best chance of our four.”
The two Australians in Majestic Cruiser and Mach Dan add extra depth to the Mile but both have drawn the second line so will need a lot to go right for them in what shapes as one of the races of the harness season.